You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Skip to main content

How Footwear Will Embrace Sustainability and Self-Expression in 2020

Consumers have yet to shop the full scope of Fall/Winter 18-19 footwear, yet shoe brands are already preparing to present their collections for 2020.

And many brands will reveal their designs at MICAM, the Milan-based trade fair for leather and fashion footwear, Feb. 10-13.

In preparation, the trade fair shared three key trends for the Fall/Winter 19-20 season, each with its own distinct design point-of-view and added value for the consumer. From romantic, vintage inspirations and experimental style, to the industry’s increasing investment in comfort and sustainability, here’s a look at MICAM’s trend forecast for next fall.

Purpose Full

The past meets the future in this comfort-focused, nostalgic trend story.

For women, new designs draw from vintage sources, including ditsy floral wallpaper print and retro geometrics.

Fendi REX/Shutterstock

Prints come alive with colors that are both “retro and contemporary” like avocado green, synthetic lemon, bright pink, dull apricot and blue-gray. Brown also makes a strong comeback, a color trend that echoes Fashion Snoops’ 2020 forecast.

Key silhouettes for women include squared-off Mary Jane heels, pumps with slanted block heels and almond toe pull-on knee boots.

Chloe WWD/REX/Shutterstock

For men, Purpose Full translates into monk strap cap-toe shoes and lace-ups with dot perforations and pinking. Casual lace-ups with a chunky sneaker bottoms live here too.

Mid-century Bakelite designs and a color palette dense with vintage green, putty, mustard yellow and blue, adds an artisan look to footwear. The color palette is also complementary to eco components like recycled outsoles and uppers made from natural materials like wool.


In Freestyle, footwear challenges conventions and celebrates freedom of expression. The theme invites a melting pot of cultural references and design influences, plus embraces gender fluidity.

Related Stories

Loewe Pixelformula/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

Vibrant, lively and unexpected color combinations are important, as well as clashing pattern mixing. Key colors include matte gold, flame orange, plaster, purple and more retro yellow. The colors are brought together through clashing prints like plaid, tie-dye, animal prints and text over imagery.

Burberry WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Silhouettes are genderless—think penny loafers, sneakers and lace-ups—with an emphasis on vulcanized outsoles and aggressive treads. The low hiker with mixed materials makes an appearance. The silhouette is shaping up to be the next Dad sneaker.

Light Magic

The rise of healing crystals and spiritual wellness gives way to a new trend based on mystical color, romantic flourishes and gothic designs.

Women’s styles in Light Magic tell a story rooted in the dark side of nature, mythological creatures and fairytales. Crystal-embellished mules for dress and exaggerated granny boots capture the story’s fantastical aesthetic, while ’90s style chunky brogues add edginess.

Commes des Garcons
Commes des Garcons WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Rich shades of gray, violet and maroon are juxtaposed with pale absinthe, dew gray and pink salt. “The romantic and mysterious colors are characterized by a dark fantasy. The color palette seems to be illuminated by an unearthly light, ranging from black to mystic violet, to the brightest pastel colors,” MICAM described.

Celine WWD/REX/Shutterstock

The trend story is casual for men, with silhouettes like a versatile mixed media midi hiker and weatherproof duck boot. Red, teal and leafy colors add a sportier feeling.

However, there’s also room for men’s dress boots. Expect to see Dandy-like stacked heel ankle boots. An asymmetrical side zipper adds a rocker vibe to the svelte silhouette.